Thursday, September 26, 2013

September Mystery Agent Reveal and Winners!

Our September Mystery Agent was . . .


Kathleen Zakhar is an associate literary agent at Harold Ober Associates Inc. Hailing from the deserts of Tucson, Kathleen graduated with a dual degree in Creative Writing and Finance from the University of Arizona. Having previously worked as a SEO content writer and arts reporter, Kathleen began her publishing career with internships at Jill Grinberg Literary Management, Foundry Literary + Media, and McIntosh & Otis. You’ll also find her on Twitter @kzakhar

Kathleen loves all things young adult and is also actively looking for adult science fiction, fantasy in all its varieties, historical fiction, and horror novels. She enjoys quirky middle grade tales with captivating adventures and original voices, and will also accept picture books. Kathleen has a special place in her heart for sweeping love stories, magical realism, inventive world-building, repurposed folklore, dark comedy, and genre-bending novels.

Ready for the winners? Here are the projects that caught Kathleen's eye:

Winner of a FULL manuscript request: CIRQUE by Faith E. Hough

Winner of a request for the 1ST 50 PAGES: GERALD by Carl Hackman

Winner of a request for the 1ST 25 PAGES: THE LYMAN LEVELS by Jessica Hoefer

Winner of a query submission: ETERNAL by Leah and Kate Rooper

Winners can send their material to with Mystery Agent Winner and the title of their book in the subject line.

 And of course, we took the opportunity to learn a little more about Kathleen:

OA: Care to weigh in on New Adult? Do you read it? Plan to represent it in the future?

KZ: I’m excited about New Adult because it’s showing that publishing is truly a constantly shifting and evolving creature, but for now I’m watching the development closely and waiting for it to grow a bit more. A large portion of New Adult (at least that I’ve come across) feels like contemporary romance. While that’s great and there are tons of agents/editors/readers who want to get their hands on it, I’d love to see the genre branch out. My ideal New Adult project would be something along the lines of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, where we have people in their late teens/early twenties in some wonderfully otherworldly environment acting their age with all the ensuing glorious messy mistakes and thought-provoking themes we’re already seeing in New Adult.

OA: What are some great books you've read recently?

KZ: I’m currently reading Wool by Hugh Howey and Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. As a passionate re-reader, I love to refresh my palate with some well-loved classics. Right now I’m falling back in love with Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, and I just finished Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones.

OA: Your tweets establish your nerd-girl credentials nicely. :) What are some of your favorite TV shows lately?

I have a Game of Thrones hand of the king pendant replica, which should tell you a lot about me. I wear it, and my nerd badge, proudly. I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who and absolutely can’t wait for the 50th Anniversary Special and for Peter Capaldi to breathe life into the twelfth incarnation of the Doctor. I’m also looking forward to the third season of American Horror Story and—my guilty pleasure—Downton Abbey. 

OA: Any exciting agency news to share?

KZ: All of us at Harold Ober Associates are very, very excited about the upcoming adaptation of Lois Lowry’s classic dystopian novel, The Giver. It occupies such a special and laudable place in children’s literature and I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. I’m particularly thrilled about Tamora Pierce’s new novel Battle Magic. We’re still basking in the glow of Gatsby fever what with the wonderful movie and the recent audiobook. Seriously, if you haven’t listened to Jake Gyllenhaal say “old sport” a couple dozen times then you haven’t really lived. Because there’s just so much exciting agency news all the time, I recommend following the Harold Ober Twitter account to see what our amazing authors are doing. 

Thanks to everyone who entered, and don't forget that we have another Mystery Agent Contest opportunity coming up on October 1st!


  1. Wow, thanks for having this contest! I'm so excited to send my ms to Kathleen; knowing she likes both Doctor Who and Downton Abbey, I feel like it will be in good hands. :)

  2. Congratulations, Faith, and all the winners! And thank you to all who entered and took that leap!

  3. Congrats to the winners! Interesting perspectives -- I love Diana Wynne Jones and I've heard from another friend that Dogsbody is one of her best, but it's so obscure!

  4. OMG!!! Sorry, doing happy dance right now LOL

    Massive thanks to all at operation awesome and to Kathleen. Gerald is a very happy boy at the moment :)


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